CFA Designation: How These 8 Benefits Accelerate (or Save) Your Career

CFA designationWhat are the benefits of becoming a CFA, considering the time and effort you need to participate in the program?

5 Benefits of Getting the CFA Designation

1. The Most Prestigious Title in Finance and Investment

  • Most people agree that the CFA designation is the most widely known and respected qualifications for finance and investment professionals e.g. research analysts and portfolio managers.
  • There are now 113K CFA charterholders around the world in 145 countries.

Among the countless finance degrees around the world, the Chartered Financial Analyst qualification has become the gold standard.” ~ Financial Times, 13 August 2010

2. CFAs have Unique Networking Opportunities

  • Not only that CFAs can be found in all major cities around the world, CFA societies are present in more than 50 countries giving you an unparalleled network that you can leverage for your career.
  • There are job postings from CFA societies with companies specifically looking for charterholders. The success of landing this type of job is much higher.

3. You Can Waive Licensing Requirements as a CFA

  • 19 countries have waived part or all of the requirements as licensed professionals, mostly in the field of investment and trading.

4. Ticket to Work for Major Investment Firms

  • The top employers of CFA charterholders are global investment banks, mostly in their asset management and research divisions. If you aspire to work in these companies, the CFA designation will give you a distinct advantage in your interviews.

5. CFAs are Paid Better

  • I have to say it largely depends on the company you are working, or are planning to work for. If you work for a firm that values CFA, you will be given better projects and consequently better pay.

3 More Reasons Why Not Getting the CFA Designation May Hurt You

The Fear of Being Left Behind

If you are working in the investment industry, not have the CFA designation puts you at distinct disadvantage. There were 85K CFA charterholders three years ago. Now, in March 2014, there are 113K charterholders and 200,000+ candidates working hard towards the designation.

At the same time, passing rates have been declining for all three levels of the exam. If your current or future position requires this title, should you get this done now or wait?

It’s Harder to Pass This Exam When You Get Older

Your “booksmartness” starts to depreciate the day after graduation. The longer you wait, the harder for your brain to adjust to the study mode. Physically your body can’t stand as many late nights as before. Also, when you have a wife/husband, a kid, another on the way, a house with a mortgage, and a yard to mow every week… it’s going to be even tougher.

If you plan to take the CFA exam sometime in your career, you should take it as soon as you can.

It’s Arguably More Cost-Effective than An MBA

Many professionals pick CFA because they don’t want to incur the time and cost to go through an MBA. It is not exactly equivalent — but for certain career paths, CFA is more useful than an MBA, especially if you cannot get into first-tier MBA programs.

What Do You Think?

If none of these 8 reasons mean much to you, then you may need to consider whether going for this designation is the right decision. Click here for reasons why getting the CFA title could be a bad idea.

Whether it’s the pull or push factors that lead you to thinking about this designation, it’s worth doing more research to make up your mind once and for all. You can check out how you can become a CFA, or browse through the FAQ section here. Good luck!

Reference: CFA Institute; Illustration courtesy of Hiking Artist.

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